Horry County police give out fans to keep seniors cool

troot@thesunnews.comJune 19, 2013 

— Inside Annie Montgomery’s mobile home Wednesday morning, the temperatures was warmer than the outside air, so the addition of a box fan was a welcome surprise.

“You’ll never know how much I appreciate this,” Montgomery said to Horry County police, who delivered the fan to her Conway area home located off S.C. 90.

Montgomery received the fan as part of the “FANtastic Seniors” program, which was developed after officers had responded to calls for service and noted elderly residents without the financial resources to keep their homes cool in the summer, Sgt. Robert Kegler said.

Officers want to give out about 100 fan to seniors in need throughout the county. On Tuesday, officers provided 10 fans to residents and two on Wednesday.

“This is your community helping,” said Lance Cpl. Jeff Helfinstine with the Horry County police Community Outreach Team.

Montgomery also showed Helfinstine and Lance Cpl. Natalie Boyd, also part of the outreach team, two areas in her home that need repair and asked them about assistance. The officers said they would check into some community programs for her.

In the first year of the fan program, officers obtained donations from several businesses to purchase them, Kegler said. Officers also hope to obtain donations to expand the program.

“We are seeing the conditions and we’re seeing the people who are obviously in need,” Helfinstine said. “Besides being behind the blue lights, we’re here to help the community and this is a different way to help.”

Officers also gave a fan to Lonnie Martin, an 85-year-old Conway area man, who had a ceiling fan and standing fan running inside his tiny apartment. Martin said the program was “good” to help keep him cool.

For Montgomery, who suffers from asthma, she said the extra fan to cool her home helps keep her health in check.

“When it gets hot, that makes it worse,” Montgomery said. “I can not thank them enough. If I could ever help somebody like that I would. More than words can ever say."

Anyone who knows a senior, age 55 or older, and they do not have the financial means to purchase a fan, you can call the Horry County Police Department at 915-8340 to assess the person’s need and deliver a fan to them.

Officers also are looking for businesses to help continue the program to provide more fans. Businesses that helped start the program include Conway Ford; Judd Kuhn Chevrolet; Bell & Bell; the Conway Wal-Mart store; Home Depot stores in Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach; the Conway Lowes store; and Dollar General, Kegler said.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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